NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Bentley University used a four-goal run in the second half to turn a two goal deficit into a two goal lead, and they hung on for a 9-8 victory over ninth-ranked Merrimack Tuesday night in a Northeast-10 men's lacrosse matchup.
Freshman Nick Astarita (Bedford, N.H./Bishop Guertin) and junior Brendan Grant (Walpole, Mass./Xaverian Brothers) carried the Bentley offense, accounting for seven of its nine goals. Astarita had four and Grant three.
Bentley fell behind 6-4 after sophomore Corey Lunney scored just 12 second into the third quarter. After that however, is when Grant and Astarita went to work. Grant scored the next two goals unassisted to tie the game, and Astarita netted an unassisted goal at the 6:10 mark to give the Falcons a 7-6 advantage.
They took that lead into the fourth quarter, and Grant scored Bentley's fourth in a row just over a minute in for a two-goal Falcon lead.
Junior Brad McAdam got the Warriors to within one at the 10:09 mark, but Astarita put Bentley up 9-7 with 3:59 remaining with his third goal of the night.
At the 2:46 mark Bentley was called for two penalties, putting them down two players at the same time, but the man-down defense came up with an important stop.
Lunney scored with 31 seconds left to make it 9-8. Merrimack won the ensuing face-off and Lunney got off two shots, the first saved by goalie Mike O'Neil (Marblehead, Mass./Marblehead), and the second went wide, but senior midfielder Dante Mancini (Syosset, N.Y./Syosset) secured the ground ball with nine seconds left and Bentley was able to run out the clock.
O'Neil came up with 14 saves on the night, while Bentley caused 17 of Merrimack's 26 turnovers, led by four from Mancini, helping offset Merrimack's 20-1 advantage in face-off wins.
It's the sixth straight NE-10 win for the Falcons, who go to 6-1 in league play and 6-4 overall. Merrimack drops to 7-5 overall and 4-4 in the NE-10. Bentley's next game is Saturday afternoon at No. 2 Le Moyne
At North Andover, Mass.
Bentley (6-4, 6-1 NE-10) 3 1 3 2 -- 9
Merrimack (7-5, 4-4 NE-10) 2 3 1 2 -- 7
Assists: M, Nick Maggio 1, Mike Perdie 1; B, Grant 2, Richard Travers 1
Shots: M, 33, B, 31
Saves: M, Connor Reagan 10; B, Mike O'Neil 14
Ground Balls: M, 35; B, 20
Face-offs: M, 20-21; B, 1-21
Extra-man Opps: M, 1-5; B, 0-4